The cinema with Ipswich’s biggest screen is set to close, putting all staff at risk of redundancy, according to a letter sent to employees seen by the Star.

The Omniplex cinema in the Buttermarket, formerly Empire Cinema until December, has sent employees an “at risk of redundancy” letter.

In the letter, the company said it has had to make the “difficult decision” to consider making all staff at the branch redundant and will start the consultation process.

The reason given was that Omniplex has not been able to agree the assignment of the leasehold with the landlord.

This means the cinema will close on or before Sunday, March 24, although the exact date is to be confirmed.

Ipswich Star: The cinema was rebranded Omniplex in December.The cinema was rebranded Omniplex in December. (Image: Tom Cann)

According to an employee at the cinema, who wishes to remain anonymous, around 30 employees are at risk of losing their jobs, which includes all team members and managers.

The cinema was rebranded Omniplex in December after the previous brand, Empire Cinema, fell into administration last summer.

Administrators said at the time that the company was affected by “the publicised challenges for the leisure sector from the impact of Covid-19, rising inflation, and the cost-of-living crisis”.

Justin Ribbons, chief executive of Empire Cinemas, said that the chain was forced to close for protracted periods in 2020 and 2021, leaving the company without income, and attendance levels did not return to pre-Covid levels.

Six sites in the UK were closed with immediate effect.

The Ipswich branch remained open while joint administrators sought a buyer, and Irish chain Omniplex acquired the site in December 2023 along with five other Empire cinemas.

Empire first opened in the Buttermarket in 2017 and was the first all-laser projection system in Suffolk and the second in the UK.

The Buttermarket shopping centre and Omniplex Ipswich have been contacted for comment.